((Healthy)) Tangy Butter Chicken Curry (Murgh Makhani)

Chicken Tandoori served in a tangy curry makes for a healthier spin on restaurant butter chicken without sacrificing flavor!

Recipe type: Dinner
Prep time: 6 hours / Cook time: 1 hour / Total time: 7 hours


6 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp fresh ginger grated
1 tsp chili powder
½ tsp ground mustard
1 tbsp ground cumin
2 tbsp ground garam masala
1 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt

The Rest:
1.5 pound chicken breast (or about 3
large breasts) cut into 1” cubes
3 tbsp ghee
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 sweet onion, chopped
1 Opal apple, halved and sliced thin
1 tomato, processed
1 tsp tomato paste
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp garam masala
½ tsp cayenne pepper
1 tbsp honey
4 cups baby spinach
1 tsp kosher salt + to taste
1 tsp coarse black pepper + to taste

Basmati rice mixed with a dash of turmeric and Cilantro for garnish

1. In a small bowl add all of your marinade ingredients and whisk together.

2. Next in a Ziplock bag or container with lid, add chicken cubes and cover with marinade. Seal vessel and shake until marinade covers all chicken bits.

3. Let chicken marinade for at least 4 hours or more (I marinade overnight).

4. 10-20 minutes before chicken is ready to cook remove it from fridge and preheat oven to 400 degrees.

5. Once oven is preheated, place cast iron, or any heavy bottom skillet pan into oven with 1 tbsp of ghee. Let ghee melt. Then remove pan from oven and add chicken pieces.

6. Place chicken into oven. Bake for about 20 minutes, stirring half way through.

7. Turn oven on to broil and broil chicken for an additional 6 minutes, or until tops begin to blacken.

8. Remove chicken from oven and put it into separate vessel. Set that aside.

9. Discard ONLY 2 tbsp of the liquid and keep the remaining in pan.

10. Place pan over medium heat and add remaining 2 tbsp of ghee to pan. Melt. Add minced garlic and sweet onion. Sauté for about 5 minutes.

11. Add apple slices, tomato puree and tomato paste. Mix together.

12. Add ginger, chili powder, garam masala, cayenne pepper, and honey. Mix. Lower heat to a simmer and simmer for 5 minutes.

13. Add spinach and mix until spinach wilts. Add kosher salt and pepper to taste.

14. Next add chicken back into vessel and mix together until chicken is covered. Simmer for another 5 minutes.

15. Serve over basmati rice and garnish with cilantro.

Oven Tandoori Chicken influenced this dish. I posted a recipe for it a year ago. You can find it on my web site listed below.

I used an Opal apple. However, if that variety is not available you can use Golden Delicious or even a Granny Smith (though that will be a little more tangy).

If a fresh tomato isn’t available, or if you don’t have any fresh tomatoes frozen in your freezer leftover from summer, you can use an 8-oz. can of tomato sauce, keeping the tomato paste the same. You may need to lessen the salt if your sauce is salty.

This isn’t your average restaurant Butter Chicken. That is MUCH creamier and ten times richer than this dish. However, I wanted this dish to be flavored roughly the same but without all of the fat content and extra added health with a twist (hence spinach + apple).

If you’re trying to be healthy but want a little more cream, add a little more nonfat plain Greek yogurt. However because you don’t drain all of the juice from the Tandoori Chicken, I didn’t find it necessary. It’s totally up to you!

Optional: Serve over basmati rice with a little turmeric (for flavor + color) and garnish with fresh cilantro! You can also serve this over the Indian Cauli Rice that I made many less wrinkles ago.

Photo by: Julia Calleo